07/06/2007: "Critter Tales and More"
It looks like I got the video to work. Score one for Channa! Here's the setup: Rainbow was three days old and really starting to explore everything around her. She had just had a day in the sun and was very tired. My friend Emily came over to meet the new addition. We got Aura's head in the stanchion and Rainbow settled in near her. Emily carefully sat down out of reach of Aura's horns and played with Rainbow. As you can see, rainbow got a little fresh.
So after a few days of confining Aura and the calf, Aura returned to being the mellow good cow that she has been. And she got a little restive in her stall. We were visiting and cleaning the stall one afternoon and she butted her head out of the stall and wandered on out into the pasture. Here's a photo of her insepcting the yard. She kept Rainbow tucked behind her until she knew the coast was clear. Then she mooed and brought out the little girl for a romp in the sun. Rainbow explored a little bit, then napped while Aura took her fill of fresh green grass and sunshine.
Milking has been very productive. Aura is giving over a gallon from one daily milking. Rainbow has a preference for which teats she wants to access, so half of Aura's bag is not utilized. So our calf is getting plenty of food, and so are we. Aura's milk has a higher cream content than it did in the previous lactation. We're not sure if it's because she's so early in the lactation, and it will eventually taper off, or if the quality of her feed is translating into fattier milk. Either way, we're grateful. And we've been enjoying way to many Kahlua n' Creams as a result.
New additions at the farm: Carol Deppe gave us four new Khaki Campbell ducks! That brings our laying flock up to ten, with two drakes. We had a little trouble integrating the new ducks into the flock, but after a few days they got the picture and now they seem to fit right in. And we have an abundance of delicious eggs.
Carol Deppe came up with a recipe for duck egg pudding called Vanilla Quack. And let me tell you, it's luscious. Here it is:
8 tbs sugar (I used 1/4 cup agave syrup)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/16 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup duck egg yolks (about a dozen eggs)
Blend together dry ingredient, then whisk in milk and yolks. Carol recommends floating this mixture (in a bowl) in a container of warm water until lukewarm. Start the water for the double boiler. Once it's boiling, add the ingredient mixture and whisk continually. It should thicken within three minutes. remove from heat and pour into seperate container. Add vanilla extract and whisk one more minute. Let cool, and serve! Will please or your money back!
Nate got me a new machete. The machete is made by "Cold Steel" and it's a Magnum Kukri. Of course I had to test it out, and the ornamental bushes in the front yard needed trimming. So far it seems to be a nice tool, though it hasn't made a dent in the blackberries yet.
In other critter news, we had a bat visit the other night.
It's been very hot in the valley, so we sleep with the windows open. The cats have a fun game in which they push the screens out of the window. Apparently it's high entertainment to watch them tumble to the ground. So the screens are off the windows. Late into the hot night, Nate carefully woke me up and whispered, "Do you hear that?". Quick flapping wingbeats, oh yeah, I heard that. Around and around the bedroom it flew. Now I'm a pretty grumpy sleeper. I don't like to be woken up, and being woken up to a small flying rodent in my bedroom was not my idea of a good time. Plus, I couldn't help but think that since bats can carry rabies, I had better avoid the bat, which meant burying myself under thick blankets in the sweltering heat. I had visions (or nightmares) of the bat tangling in my hair. And Nate just seemed to enjoy its presence, which came off as ridiculous to me. And then the cats started to take notice. Thuds punctuated the quick wingbeats as the cats took turns jumping up to try and nab the creature. This was even better than pushing out the screens! So now we had a new worry. If one of the cats caught the bat, not only would we lose the bat, we'd have to deal with a possible rabies issue. So Nate carefully crawled out of bed, staying low to the ground, and opened the window as wide as it would go. He ushered the cats out and closed the door, then came back to bed. It took a little time, but eventually the bat found its way out into the night. Phew!
Another critter story:
Apparently we have a barn owl! We're very excited about this. We haven't checked the box because it's not nesting season. We suspect it's a fairly young owl. Our first sighting of the big white bird happened when it flew into the living room window (which does not open, so no screen to push out!). It sank to the ground and seemed to sulk for a few minutes. It eventaully got up and flew to the neighbor's yard and hung out in his driveway. (I did not have my camera ready!) Since then, Nate's scared it out of the big cedar out back a few times. I hope he'll stick around and maybe settle in enough for me to snap some reliable pictures.
A strange critter story:
Today at work my coworker came across a goose. We were working in hazel orchards (filberts), looking for certain moths and worms in the nuts. The goose was wondering around aimlessly. It is some species of Canada goose, which are wild. But it was obviously injured. My coworker brought it to me to figure out what to do with it. I don't have any pictures of that because it's too grisly. The poor little guy is missing one eye. We suspect he was hit by a car or tractor. It has damaged his beak and one of his wings. I would have advocated ending his sufferign immediately, except that his eye was starting to dry out and crust over. This goose had been fighting death for at least two or three days. So we figured we could help him out with his fight. I called Ed the neighbor, who has great experience tending hurt animals. I brought the goose home in the back of the Sidekick, riding in a big plastic tote. Ed made a spot for it and mixed up some fine ground corn and sugar and water. We gave it water. The goose drank and drank, then ate. Ed and I discussed putting him down, but we arrived at the same conclusion: he's made it this long, let's give him a chance. So if he's still alive in the morning, we may send him off to the local animal rehab center. Though it might be kind of fun to have a one eyed goose about the farm! I'll let you know how his story turns out.
I'm still working on the video, and it's way past my bedtime. If I can't get it working tomorrow, I'll put up a bunch of pictures.